Rosario (Argentina), May 30(ANI): Argentina striker Lionel Messi has been accused by the man who discovered him of selling out to fame and fortune.
Former Newell's Old Boys manager Ernesto Vecchio, who launched Messi's career, said the world's top player now shuns him and has turned his back on his humble beginnings.
Vecchio spotted Messi playing in the street and took him to Rosario-based Newell's Old Boys, where he coached him before he left for Barcelona as a 12-year-old.
"It's over 10 years since we spoke. It's a shame kids forget some things when they find success," News of The World quoted Vecchio, as saying.
"In 2006 I heard he was in Rosario and I went to his house to catch up with old times. They told me he wasn't there, but it was a lie."
"He must have been afraid I would ask him for something. Money changes people a bit," he added.
Messi left Newell's Old Boys's youth team in 2000 and moved with his family to Europe, as Barcelona offered treatment for his growth hormone deficiency.
Making his debut in the 2004-05 season, he broke the La Liga record for the youngest footballer to play a league game, and also the youngest to score a league goal
Considered as one of the best football players of his generation, Messi received several Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21 and won both by the age of 22.
His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his "successor". (ANI)